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New HCC leader receives high marks

Altieri: Vision for college 'builds on great traditions'

Altieri: Vision for college 'builds on great traditions'

October 07, 2002|by ANDREA ROWLAND

andrear@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown Community College's new president has a vision, a plan and a leadership style that's earning him high grades from the campus community.

"Dr. (Guy) Altieri is delightful. A, he's brilliant; B, he's tireless," said Dr. Carl Galligan, dean of students. "The campus is very exciting now with a new leader with new ideas."

On July 1, Altieri replaced longtime college president Norman Shea.

"He is the right person for the job," said Marge Nikpourfard, director for developmental education. "He's not a desk person; he's pro-active. He really listens to what you have to say.

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"And he has an incredible grasp of what this college has been, what it is and what it could be."

Altieri said his vision for HCC "builds on great traditions" and that he has a plan to guide the college's growth in "new, necessary directions."

Altieri has met with HCC students, faculty and staff members, public school leaders, politicians and others in the community to learn what HCC programs and services have proved most beneficial and what new programs and services are needed to meet the changing needs of students and the community, he said.

"It's very hard to plan for the future unless you know where you've been and where you want to go," said Altieri, 51, of Hagerstown.

He has drafted a vision statement that defines the college's role as a "learner-centered, accessible, lifelong learning institution dedicated to student and community success."

He has proposed a long list of goals to achieve a mission that includes offering new and expanded health care, technology and education programs at the college to help meet a growing need in the community and beyond for nurses, computer technicians and educators, Altieri said.

A champion of participatory management, he has been striving to get everyone involved in the planning and budgeting process that will shape the college's future by sharing his draft vision statement and strategic goals with students and campus and community leaders, he said.

Altieri is meeting with the heads of all academic and service departments at HCC to "find out what they're doing, why they're doing it, and what difference it makes" in an effort to make sure that "we're putting our dollars in the right place," he said.

Though he values input that leads to quality decisions, Altieri said he will take full responsibility for the tough task of re-allocating existing resources. The process includes funneling funds from programs and services that don't complement HCC's strategic goals into those that do.

"Ultimately, the buck stops in my office and I have to carry that responsibility," Altieri said.

Re-allocating existing funds is necessary because the college will "never have enough money to do everything we want to do," he said.

It's important to invest in the future despite difficult economic times, and much of that investment must come from within the campus due to state and county budget constraints, Altieri said.

"We can't constantly go back and ask for more dollars," he said. "We have to make sure we're putting our money where our future is. If it's in the plan, it will be funded."

HCC Student Government Association President Matt Seifarth, 20, said he's been impressed with Altieri's energy, ambition and student-centered nature.

"He's a go-getter, and I think he's very much student-oriented," said Seifarth, who recently saw Altieri sit down to chat with three students lunching at the Hilltop Grill in the College Center.

Altieri has been meeting with students to get "their say about things that are happening on campus," Seifarth said. "He realizes students can bring something to the table."

A former psychology teacher, Altieri said earlier this year that teaching remains his first love and that he plans to stay involved with students both in and out of the classroom.

He said he's had a wonderful time meeting the students, faculty and staff at HCC during the last several months.

Altieri is a member of the Greater Hagerstown Committee and the Washington County Industrial Foundation.

Before coming to Hagerstown, Altieri - who holds a doctorate, three master's degrees, a bachelor's degree and a certificate - served as chief operating officer and executive vice president for instruction at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Mich.

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